Campack Towel

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The common paper napkin found in every restaurant in the U.S. is a rarity in the rest of the world. When traveling, I’ve found cafes and cheap restaurants often offer only small squares of tissue that I could dab my lips with, but won’t do a thing to keep protect my lap from dropped food. My solution is the Campack towel. It’s a small (15×15 inch) very thin microfiber towel with a clip on one corner that keeps it attached to its little pouch even when you are using it. The pouch, in turn, has a small carabiner that clips to a belt loop. (Stuffed in its pouch, it measures about 3×2 ½ inches.) The Campack towel is just large enough that I can use it like a regular cloth napkin, keeping it in my lap and lifting it to wipe my hands and face, without detaching it. It seems very similar to the previously reviewed Aquis Microfiber towel, just smaller, less expensive and with the added small clip on the corner.

Because it’s always at hand, I find a million uses for it. I can dry my hands with it in the many public toilets that don’t provide paper towels. Once it’s saturated, I can wring it out and it’s ready to soak up more water. It’s very soft, making it more pleasant to use than paper alternatives.

On a recent trip to Japan and Korea, I became so attached to it that I left it on my belt when I came home.

The Campack has a few more thoughtful features: One side of the pouch is made of mesh, allowing the towel to dry when it’s not in use. It’s bright orange, so you’re not likely to leave it behind if you’ve hung it up to dry in your hotel room. The manufacturer also claims that it has an anti-microbial, anti-fungal layer. I can’t say whether this is really necessary, as it takes only a minute to wash it in the sink and it dries quickly, so most of the time it’s clean and dry. MSR makes a similar product, but it’s slightly more expensive and doesn’t come with the carabiner.

-- Tom Sackett  

Campack Medium (15.5″x15.5″) Towel
$7

Available from REI